If Phillies utilityman Young had his way, he'd be a specialist

"It's hard to judge a utilityman on one position when they don't do it all the time." Delwyn Young said. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
"It's hard to judge a utilityman on one position when they don't do it all the time." Delwyn Young said. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer) (Brian McCardle)
Posted: March 05, 2011

BRADENTON, Fla. - Delwyn Young expected to be at McKechnie Field yesterday. He just thought it would be as a member of the Pirates, not trying to earn a spot on the Phillies roster.

Young was third in the majors with 16 pinch-hits last year and first in pinch at-bats with 69. But he was eligible for arbitration for the first time and the still-rebuilding Bucs weren't going to take a chance he might get more than they wanted to pay to a utilityman who batted .236.

So he was nontendered and signed a minor league contract with the Phillies for $17,500 a month in the minors plus an invitation to big-league camp. If he makes the majors, he'll be paid $575,000.

"One door closes and another one opens. Regardless of what happened last year, turn the page and go from there," said Young, who made his first start of the spring at second base in yesterday's 7-4 exhibition win over Pittsburgh. "I was shocked from both standpoints. The way that it ended with the Pirates and the way that it started with the Phillies."

Young, 28, obviously isn't happy that Chase Utley has been unable to play yet this spring because of patellar tendinitis in his right knee. At the same time, it's given him a chance to showcase himself that much more.spe

He's also played leftfield and rightfield and is 4-for-14 (.286).

"I think it's one of those things that the more you do it, the better you're going to be at it. It's hard to judge a utilityman on one position when they don't do it all the time. If you stay in one spot, it's better. It's hard to be a jack-of-all-trades in this game," he said.

"When I was a Dodger, I played second all the way up and then they signed Jeff Kent. In order to find a place for me to play, they put me in the outfield. And here we are, standing here. Sometimes it's not that good to be good at everything. Sometimes it's hard to hone that one position when one day you're here and the next day you're there. But one way or the other, you've got to make the best of your opportunities."

Going to his left, Young made a nice play on a grounder by Lyle Overbay in the fourth. Charlie Manuel said he'll continue to look at Young at several positions, including third base.

On deck

The Phillies host the Pirates today at Bright House Field. Pittsburgh lefthander Paul Maholm is scheduled to start against Roy Halladay.

The Phillies have split-squad games tomorrow. Cliff Lee will start against Tampa Bay Rays righthander Wade Davis at home. Kyle Kendrick will get the assignment against Tigers lefthander Phil Coke at Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.


After making his first centerfield appearance of the spring Saturday in Fort Myers, Wilson Valdez started in right yesterday. Not only that, he threw out Neil Walker trying to go from first to third on a single in the first inning. Valdez did a nice job filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins at shortstop last year, but after watching him take fly balls in the outfield during batting practice, Charlie Manuel was convinced Valdez could play outfield if needed . . . Joe Blanton got his second start of the spring. After giving up four straight hits with one out in the bottom of the first - "a broken bat and two jam jobs," by his estimation - he didn't allow another hit in his 3 2/3 innings . . . Blanton made the web gem play of the game when he caught a comebacker from Pedro Ciriaco behind his back and between his legs and threw him out at first in the third inning. "There's a lot of luck in there. I didn't even know I caught it. I was looking around and all of a sudden I realized it was in my glove. You've got to laugh about it because there's zero skill involved when you do that," he said . . . Struggling rookie Domonic Brown (0-for-15, nine strikeouts) did not make the trip. *

For more Phillies coverage and opinion, read David Murphy's blog, High Cheese, at www.philly.com/HighCheese. Follow him on Twitter at


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